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Rhea Alliance to Host Major Cycling Event and Stage Race

12 Mar, 2014


Rhea County, Tennessee, to Serve as Venue for Event from September 12-14, 2014

The Rhea County Stage Race is coming to Rhea County, TN in September. A large crowd of visitors is expected during the weekend.

Based on the growing popularity of cycling throughout the country, a multi-stage race here promises to attract participants from all over the southeast as well as spectators in very large numbers.

The first stage, a Prologue, will start in Spring City on Friday, September 12, 2014, according to RETC’s new Director, Dennis Tumlin. This 8 kilometer or 5 mile out-and-back course will give the racers the opportunity to set their mark on the race while traveling along the protected lanes of Tennessee Scenic Highway 27/29.

Saturday morning, Dayton will host the start of the Second Stage.  The 60 mile race will take the cyclists out of Dayton, east towards the river and then turning in the direction of Spring City before heading over Dayton Mountain.   Descending Dayton Mountain, the peloton will then turn southwest towards Graysville before heading back to Dayton.  “Based on cycling’s popularity, many enthusiasts and spectators are expected along the course”, Mayor Gary Louallen said.   With the race returning to downtown Dayton for the finish, the racers will experience ancillary events at the Start/Finish line sponsored by Rhea County Economic Development and the Rhea Alliance.

Saturday afternoon, Spring City will host the Third Stage of the Race.   A 12 mile Time Trial against the clock will start at the Historic Spring City Museum & Depot located on Front Street.    This course will test the cyclists skills and conditioning as they travel along beautiful roadways east of the city and then along the Tennessee River before returning to Spring City.    Commissioner Jim Reed, who also serves as chairman of the Rhea Alliance, describes this event as “an opportunity which brings together and benefits all of our local partners”.

Downtown Dayton hosts a Criterium for Stage 4 on Sunday, September 14.   The course will take the racers along streets in the downtown area and past the Historic Courthouse made famous by the Scopes Monkey Trial and William Jennings Bryan.  The Rhea Alliance is extremely pleased to host a cycling race of this caliber. 

The local organizing committee will be working closely with the Friends of Outdoor Chattanooga, Tennessee Bicycle Racing Association (TBRA), and TDOT officials to coordinate the race organizer’s operational, technical and additional support requirements.  These groups bring their experience organizing successful outdoor events like the Tour de Georgia, the US Professional Cycling Championships and the Head of the Hooch to Rhea County’s first cycling Stage Race.

“The exposure for Rhea County is enormous”, Dennis Tumlin said. “Chattanooga hosted the US Professional Cycling Championships last year and attracted over 25,000 visitors for the weekend.   This stage race should attract visitors from all over the southeast.  It's not the people who come here that day that have the strongest economic impact on Rhea County. It's all the people who discover Rhea County that day and come back for a longer visit. This kind of exposure is like free advertising."

Cyclists in the United States number over 95 million.   This number grows every year as more people discover and re-discover this sport.   Participants in bicycle races cover all age groups and demographics.   USA Cycling’s membership for 2014 is expected to reach nearly 70,000.  And this year, at approximately 130 miles of racing, the Rhea County Stage Race becomes the only Stage Race in Tennessee.

Dennis Tumlin has already begun lining up the local organizing committee to prepare for the Race. "It's going to be an enormous job to host a race, and we'll need the help of lots of volunteers, but we will absolutely be ready for the world to come to Rhea County in September."

To volunteer, please contact RETC Director, Dennis Tumlin at (423)775.7653 or dennistumlin@rheacountyetc.com 

Rhea County Stage Race: Host Venues

  • Spring City will host the Prologue Stage 1: Friday, September 12 , Spring City to Spring City
  • Dayton will Host the Road Race Stage 2: Saturday, September 13
  • Dayton to Dayton (Dayton, Spring City, Evensville, Dayton Mountain, Graysville, Dayton)
  • Spring City will host the Time Trial Stage 3: Saturday afternoon, September 13, Spring City to Spring City
  • Dayton will Host the Criterium Stage 4: Sunday, September 14, Downtown Dayton Circuit 
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